Atheist and Agnostic

Since many people seem to be confused about the difference between theism and agnosticism, at least it seems so from the widespread misuse of the term agnostic. I offer this simple explanation of what the terms mean and how they can be used.

Agnostic does not mean someone who doesn’t care or is ambivalent toward the existence of God, nor is it a midway point between theist and atheist. The word agnostic refers to knowledge or a claim of knowledge while the words theist and atheist refer to what you believe or have faith in, regardless of what you may know for certain.

A person therefore can be a:

  • theist/agnostic (Belief in God / Does not claims to know for certain that God exists)
  • atheist/agnostic (No belief in God /  Does not claims to know for certain that God exists)
  • theist/gnostic (Belief in God  / Claims to know for certain that God exists)
  • atheist/gnostic (No belief in God / Claims to know for certain that God exists)

Now, not to complicate what I have just explained, but an additional note should be added when we talk about being agnostic. For some people, whether they are agnostic or not, may depend on your definition of God. For example, some people will assert that they know for certain that the Christian God does not exist because they perceive there to be irreconcilable conflicts in the definition of the Christian God's attributes, or some other logical fallacy which would prevent Him from existing, but they may be agnostic toward a definition of God which is defined differently.

Hope this helps...


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